Sunday evening as I was preparing to cook dinner on the grill outside, an unexpected storm moved in. It went from sunny and calm to winds and heavy rains in an hour. So, I cooked inside on the stove. But after the rains had stopped, I went outside and could see regular lightning all over the sky and decided to get out the camera and attempt to capture a photo in my neighborhood.

My method was initially a 30 second exposure. I was in aperture priority mode and the metering was using the dark environment so set the shutter. This wasn’t really working out so I switched to manual and eventually got to 13 second exposures.

My method was to disable long exposure noise reduction, point the camera at the horizon, focus on a distant street light, and just keep shooting pictures until I got some lightning. The below photo (cropped) was shot at 22mm focal length, which was too wide I think. I eventually got down to 35mm but by then, the lightning had moved away and I wasn’t capturing much of it.

Lightning in Leander Texas
Lightning in Leander Texas

You can see that this lightning arced horizontally across the sky from two directions before heading down to the ground. Probably would have been much more impressive had it been closer, but I may have gotten out too late for the best photos. It didn’t occur to me to do this until I was putting out the trash cans for Monday morning trash collection.

In all, I took over 30 photos and only one was all that impressive. Next time I will try to shoot at a more normal focal length to get a more dramatic photo of the lightning.

P.S. I wasn’t worried about being struck as the storms were well beyond my house by this time.

4 thoughts on “Lightning

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